Welcome to Part IV of a special series of posts in the run up to the holiday season! (Read Part I here, Read Part II here, & Read Part III here).
I asked some of the lovely authors that have previously appeared on the site about their Christmas book recommendations for this year. They graciously replied with some fantastic book picks! Hopefully these book recommendations might help you with your own Christmas shopping gift ideas too! :-)
Q. Is there a smart thinking book that you are looking forward to reading this Christmas, or one you would like to give or receive as a gift?
This one! An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong.
The book I recently came across which is endlessly fascinating in different ways is Phobias and Manias by Kate Summerscale.
I’ve been reading Nihal Arthanayake’s Let’s Talk - How to have better conversations. (Orion books and still in HB).
I’d be happy to recommend it. It’s a lovely antidote to emoji’s, text speak and shorthand, and reminds us of the importance of human conversation.
A really good Christmas present.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
This is a book to make you think about the world you move through and how much of your experience is determined by societal factors of all kinds. Octavia wrote this novel in 1979 but it feels fresh and relevant, as it explores race and feminism and a person's 'luck' or lack of it, through circumstance. A woman of colour living in Los Angeles in the 70s, finds herself suddenly pulled back into 19th Century Maryland. The expectations of her there are as appalling as you can imagine and the author dares to make us look at the darkness of humanity and to question how much, and if, we have changed. In a world where modern slavery is still a devastating problem, it is sadly relevant. As a work of fiction, it is a real page-turner and a well-crafted piece. I'm really glad I read it, I hope you will be too.
I'm hoping to find Shadowlands, A Journey Through Lost Britain by Matthew Greene (Faber and Faber) under the tree this year. It feels like the right moment for a melancholy wander through traces of our past as we all try to work out where we are now. I was beguiled by Ghostland In Search of a Haunted Country by Edward Parnell (William Collins) - a captivating memoir about grief, and also a travelogue around our national ghosts stories so I'll slip this in as a hard recommendation for a gift.
I'm looking forward to finishing Phillipa Perry's The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did). I say finishing, because I'm currently about half way through, but with a seven month old it takes me rather longer to read anything these days! What I've read so far, though, has really helped me to think about the relationship I'm building with my little one and how it might impact him as he grows up. I think people will find this book helpful not just for parenting, but for relationships in general too.
Huge thanks, míle buíochas & diolch yn fawr to Seirian, Suzanne, Ben, Miranda, Victoria, & Florence for their great Christmas book picks!
(Read Part I here, Read Part II here, & Read Part III here) with more author recommendations :-)
Merry Christmas All & Happy Reading!
Image Copyrights: Pan Macmillan (The Sleeping Beauties), Icon Books (The Year I Stopped To Notice), Vintage Publishing (An Immense World), Profile Books Ltd (The Book of Phobias and Manias), Headline Publishing Group (Kindred), Faber & Faber (Shadowlands), HarperCollins Publishers (Endless Forms, Ghostland), Oneworld Publications (A History of Delusions), Penguin Books Ltd (The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read), Orion Publishing Co (What We Fear Most, Let's Talk, Wild City)